The Luxembourg team Leopard TOGT is to disband, after failing to find enough additional funding to rise to the ProTeam level.
“2023 has been the final season for Leopard TOGT Pro Cycling. This decision comes after careful consideration by the team’s management after not being able to find additional funds to make the step up to the UCI ProTeam level,” a press release stated.
The closure brings an end to a 13-year run and, after the team merged with the Danish Riwal squad at the start of this season, ends the latter team’s 15-year history.
Leopard TOGT had ambitions of stepping up to the ProTeam level for 2024 and scored several promising victories – the Olympias Tour and Circuit des Ardennes with Mathias Bregnhøj but could not find another sponsor to make the leap.
“We had great hopes of finding a third big sponsor. Possibly from Denmark, since the sport of cycling has grown here a lot after the Tour de France Grand Départ in Copenhagen, and of course the two Danish Tour de France wins of Jonas Vingegaard,” said team CEO Mogens Tveskov.
“We hoped to become a Danish-Luxembourgish stepping stone between the UCI Continental and UCI WorldTeam level, but unfortunately there were insufficient leads to make this happen. This lack of funds is the one and only reason why the team decides to step down and say the world of cycling farewell.”
Team manager Markus Zingen, who had been with the Leopard Continental team since its inception, said, “It was of course not easy to combine two well-established teams into one, but we made it happen. Since day one, the Danish and the Luxembourgish core were on the same wavelength, which led to the amazing season we had. We can claim that the merger was a very great success, which made the decision to pull the plug not any easier.”
Leopard began in 2011 when a real estate magnate from Luxembourg, Flavio Becca, hired Danish press officer for Bjarne Riis’ Saxo Bank team, Brian Nygaard, to launch a new pro team. With Saxo Bank’s future still in negotations, the team was able to hire a powerful core of riders including Andy and Fränk Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O’Grady, and Jens Voigt. The management company was dubbed Leopard SA with Nygaard its general manager for 2011. The team took over/merged with the RadioShack team for 2012, with Nygaard departing before the season started.
Becca sold the team’s WorldTour licence to Trek in 2014, and the team went on to become what is now Lidl-Trek.
The organisation Leopard also…